The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

ACE FREHLEY
METROS FREMANTLE

1st February 2010

 

SETLIST:

FRACURED MIRROR (INTRO)
ROCKET RIDE
PARASITE
SNOWBLIND
SISTER
OUTER SPACE
SPEEDIN' BACK TO MY BABY
ROCK SOLDIERS
LOVE HER ALL I CAN
TALK TO ME
2000 MAN
NY GROOVE
HARD TIMES
FOXY AND FREE
SHOCK ME
SHOUT IT OUT LOUD
DEUCE

ENCORES:

RIP IT OUT
LOVE GUN
COLD GIN
BLACK DIAMOND (OUTRO)

Starting off with a ‘Fractured Mirror’ backing track, the Ace Frehley band take the stage to open with a storming rendition of the perennial Kiss favourite ‘Rocket Ride’. It’s as good an introduction as the man needs to welcome in this first ever date on his first solo your of Australia. ‘Parasite’ quickly follows and has the Kiss fans all hot and bothered.

 

 

It’s great to see Ace live again, after my first sighting solo at Rocklahoma in 2008 and great that a company like Red Ant Touring, who are bringing a lot of quality rock to Australia, have managed to get him over.

Ace’s support this evening came from the Sydney band ‘L.U.S.T.’ who mash the Stooges with the New York Dolls and sound like a band to watch. Australia seems to be throwing up some cool bands at the moment and these guys certainly show a lot of promise. Showcasing songs from their forthcoming debut album including 'I Wanna Get Drunk', 'Bad Reputation' and 'Fight Fire With Fire', they tore through half an hour of raw and sleazy hard rock to warm up the crowd.

‘I wrote this song in the 70’s called ‘Snowblind,’ says Ace ‘It's about cocaine - I don’t do it anymore, but it’s a cool song’ before starting off with the song itself.  I’m all smiles by this stage and a little bemused that every lyric of every song is immediately on my lips.

‘Sister’ is the first song that we get to hear from the new ‘Anomaly’ album and the reaction is pretty good. There certainly seem to be a few in the room familiar with the new stuff which is cool. The crowd in fact is quite a mix of die-hard Kiss freaks and kids of all ages, there’s the odd sunset strip refugee, a few bikers, and people of all ages shapes and sizes. 

As it turns out ‘Sister’ is one of only three songs Ace plays from the new album tonight, but no one is complaining. There’s no denying that the majority, young or old are here to hear the Kiss and solo stuff and that’s just what they get.  I find myself either singing or mouthing the words to every song, what a way to regress back into childhood!

Ace’s live band is pretty solid and the sharing of vocal duties these days takes what were always a few of the rough edges off Mr Frehley’s individual voice. Scott Coogan on drums holds it together beautifully at the back and looks like he can’t help but smile all the way through the set; bassist Anthony Esposito (ex-Lynch Mob) is equally solid and the main ringleader in extolling the crowd to get their hands in the air.

Tonight there is also a new member of the band on rhythm, flown in direct from LA in the shape of Todd Youth (ex-Danzig). For his first ever date with Ace, and despite the jetlag that hits later he does a fine job thrown into the frying pan. 

‘I love the weather here’ shouts Ace before cutting into the next song from the new album ‘Outer Space’ which goes down great.

 

 

There’s plenty to come though and the first unexpected song of the night comes in the form of a rocking rendition of ‘Speeding Back to My Baby’. That crashes headlong into another of the big solo crowd-pleasers in ‘Rock Soldiers’. The band has hit their stride now and the next hour is just a sheer pleasure for Ace fans.

‘Love Her All I Can’ sees Scott take the vocal duties for a passable Peter Criss before we hit what for me was pretty much the highlight of the night.

‘Oh we’ve never done this one before so if we make a few mistakes you gotta let it go’ introduces a song I never thought I’d hear again live in ‘Talk to Me’.

Then a song first played, according to Ace, in the 80s in Australia ‘2000 Man’ gets the crowd rocking and rolling before ‘New York Groove’, the Russ Ballard song that upset Paul and Gene so much by trumping them in the solo single stakes. There’s a  slight slip up on the way to the solo, but hey that’s why we love him. The song gets quite a work out and an extended midsection works well.

The band get an intro before Ace declares: ‘Another one off the '78 solo record’ then a few seconds of unexpected silence before he adds ‘Scotty I think you start this one’ - ‘Hard Times’ kicks in another unexpected twist.

‘You know how it is first show of the tour you try to iron out the kinks’ Ace tells us during what I count is the 11th guitar change! The band kicks into ‘Foxy and Free’ from the new CD before the song that most people are here to hear…

‘Back in '76 I was electrocuted on stage and I wrote this song, I’ve never been the same since’, Ace chuckled as he led the band headlong into ‘Shock Me’, which, along with the wonderful solo that follows - complete with trademark smoking guitar - are another of the show’s high-points. This is the man who has directly influenced so many to pick up a guitar and it’s always a pleasure to watch, who cares about Tommy Thayer and Kiss: they will never be as ‘real’ as this.

‘Shout it Out Loud’ and there’s not a single person in the hall not singing and dancing or head-banging away before Ace announces: ‘Thank you Perth’ and we are straight into ‘Deuce’ which no one plays like Ace, and the band even perform the patented Kiss synchronised head-banging.

‘Thank you, you’ve been a great audience, see you’ and it’s over bar the encores.

When the band comes back out Ace informs us that jetlag has affected the band pretty badly especially Todd, who he tells us " just threw up behind the amplifier", chuckling, but hell he can still play and that’s the main thing.

The night closes with the magic trifecta of ‘Rip It Out’; ‘Love Gun’ and Ace’s most famous Kiss song ‘Cold Gin’. It may not be the best concert I see this year, and Ace may not be the best front-man in the world; but to me that doesn’t really matter, it’s the memories the music brings back. As an unashamed Ace fan of many, many years I couldn’t be happier.

2 hours of Ace, that the rest of Australia now get to enjoy!

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Photos and additional words Shane Rockpit